Early breast cancer does not cause any symptoms. On breast self exam, the women often detects the cancer herself after she feels a lump in her breast, which feels different than the rest of the breast tissue. However 90% of lumps in breast are not cancerous. But any lump in breast must require medical attention to rule out cancer.
Breast Cancer Symptoms and Signs in Women
- A lump in the breast which feels different to touch than the rest of the breast tissue.
- A lump in the armpit or axilla which may indicate a thickened lymph node which may occur due to breast cancer .
- Change in the size or shape of the breast.
- Blood tinged discharge from the nipple.
- Changes in the appearance of the skin over the breast, areola and nipple such as redness, puckering and dimpling or puckering giving it an appearance of an orange skin (peau de orange).
- The skin over the breast may turn scaly.
- The nipple of the affected breast may turn inward into the breast.
Picture of inverted nipple – symptom of breast cancer
- There may be nipple tenderness.
- Great majority of breast cancer patients do not experience any pain in the breast. Pain, if present should point towards other breast tissue disorders.
- In Paget’s disease of the breast, there are eczematous changes and flaking over the skin of the nipple. Later there may be itching, tingling, redness, burning and pain over the skin of the nipple.
Picture of Paget’s disease of the breast
- In inflammatory breast cancer, the whole breast becomes red and inflamed and very sore.
Picture of inflammatory breast cancer
Pictures of Breast Cancer Symptoms
Symptoms of Advanced Breast Cancer
Breast cancer may metastasize and common areas of breast cancer metastasis are bone, liver, lung and brain. Related and specific symptoms then present themselves.
- However, certain non specific symptoms include unexplained weight loss and fever with chills. However, these are general symptoms and can also be due to other causes.
- Bone and joint pain due to metastasis to bone.
- Neurological symptoms due to metastasis to brain.
- Skin ulcers.
- Jaundice due to metastasis to the liver.
Symptoms of Breast Cancer in Men
These symptoms include swelling or a lump in the affected breast, pain and tenderness.
General note. Appearance of any of the breast cancer symptoms mentioned above will not necessarily mean you have breast cancer, but a visit to your doctor is definitely warranted to rule out breast cancer.